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‘Ashura : A Day to Remember

Muharram is here, and with it one of the most special days in Islam - the day of ‘Ashura!

‘Ashura, from the Arabic word meaning ‘ten’, is the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a day celebrated and commemorated by most Abrahamic religions, particularly Islam and Judaism.

Did you know that there are four sacred months in Islam?

When Muslims think of sacred months, usually Ramadhan or Zulhijjah comes to mind. But there are actually four months that Allah S.W.T. and the Prophet (S.A.W.) have mentioned as being particularly important!

Abu Bakr (R.A.) reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: “The year is 12 months of which four are sacred: the three consecutive months of Zulqa’dah, Zulhijjah and Muharram, and Rajab, which comes between Jumada (Ukhra) and Sha’ban.” (Bukhari)

So yes, Muharram is also one of the sacred months in Islam, and ‘Ashura is one of the most important days in Muharram. Many significant historical events have happened on this day, and it is sacred not just for Muslims, but for Jews and Christians as well.

Here are some amazing things that have happened on the day of ‘Ashura!

  • After the flood, the Ark of Prophet Nuh (A.S.) completed its voyage and came to rest on Mount Judi in present-day Turkey.

  • It is said that Allah S.W.T. saved Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) from the fire he was thrown into by the tyrant Namrud.

  • Allah S.W.T. gave victory to Prophet Musa (A.S.) as he led the Israelis to safety from Fir’aun. When he raised his staff, the Red Sea split to allow them to pass, and drowned Fir’aun and his army when they tried to follow.

After Prophet Musa’s victory, early Christians and Jewish people celebrated and commemorated this day by fasting. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) made it a part of Islamic tradition, commanding the ummah to fast as well. But to differentiate between Islam and Judaism, he instructed them to fast on the day before or after ‘Ashura as well.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, a prominent scholar, mentioned that there are three levels of fasting on ‘Ashura, the first one being ‘the best’ and most complete, followed by the other levels:

  • Fasting for 3 consecutive days: 9,10, & 11 Muharram.

  • Fasting on 9 and 10 Muharram only.

  • Fasting on the 10th of Muharram only.

To this day, Muslims and Jews celebrate the day of ‘Ashura by fasting! Some even make sure to do extra good deeds on this day to maximise their rewards.

For some Muslims however, ‘Ashura is not a day of celebration, but of mourning. Shia Muslims remember ‘Ashura as the day on which Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and their third Imam, was slain.

Prior to the battle, Husayn and his small entourage were entrenched in the desert of Karbala, and denied access to water for three days. This event marked the start of the divide between Sunni and Shia Islam.

It’s clear that ‘Ashura is indeed a special day for many people. As we celebrate, let’s make it a special day for those less fortunate as well! Check out GERSG's current appeals page to see how you can help. Sponsor an orphan and their family to support their monthly expenses, help struggling single mothers, provide a meal for those in need, and more!


Cover Image Credit : Day Finders

Image Credit : The Independent

Sources : Wikipedia,, Muslim Hands, Muslim SG

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